John Deere’s ISG Gets Results

Posted on February 1, 2012 by Dean Leffingwell in Case Studies, John Deere

Over the last few months, I’ve been chronicling the Lean|Agile transformation at John Deere’s Intelligent Systems Group. For those of you contemplating, or in the midst of such a large  scale transformation, there is some useful information in these posts.

Last month, Chad Holdorf of John Deere (Chad calls himself ISG’s agile ninja, though I have yet to see this on his business card) and I gave keynote talks at Rally Software’s Agile Portfolio Management Roadshow event in Dallas, Texas . My talk was on Agile Portfolio and Program Management. The video of my talk is posted here.

Chad’s talk (video posted here) was an update on the ISG transformation, and he provided some quantitative results of the effort. It still amazes me when I see the hard data on the incredible impact enterprise agility can have on business, market, and culture.

Below is some of the data from Chad’s talk. I’m betting you’ll be impressed too.

Quality and Responsiveness

Quality stats are some of the most easily measurable results.  Here are the ISG quality results (year over year comparison):

Warranty expenses            Down 50%

Field resolution time         Down 42%

Time to Market

Next, time to market improvements:

First to market                    Up 20%

Time to production            Down 42%

Morale and Engagement

Next, and how do the teams feel about the transformation?

Employee Engagement       Up 7% (based on survey)

I also found this chart particularly interesting:

Results of employee survey on scaled agile benefits


That data seems pretty unambiguous, eh?

Kaizen Mind

These results reflect just the first year of the transformation. I also know for certain that Deere has kaizen mind (continuous improvement fueled by a constant sense of competetive danger), so I can’t wait for next year’s results. Neither can ISG. Here’s what Tony Thelen, Director, Intelligent Solutions Group, says about the rationale for the transformation, the results to date, and his expectations for the future:

“Our rational for moving to agile development was simple:  to improve the time to market and quality of ISG’s technology solutions so our customers can better address the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population. I am extremely proud of our teams for navigating the complex personal and organizational change dynamics necessary to adopt agile and achieve these results. But this is just the start, not the end of our journey, and we are absolutely committed to improving on these results month after month and year after year.”

Background on John Deere ISG

John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group plays a key role for Deere & Company in designing and delivering the technology needed by its customers to help them meet the challenge of growing more food and building much-needed infrastructure – challenges that must be met as the world’s population is expected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050.  The Intelligent Solutions Group is a great place to work, too. John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group designs displays and receivers, guidance systems, field and crop management tools, and information and logistics systems that customers rely on when they use John Deere equipment with satellite-based global positioning to advance their productivity. Deere employees leverage Agile project methods to deliver the most advanced innovations to the company’s products. These methods foster a creative environment where employees feel empowered to put their best ideas forward and forge their own career path.

Jobs at John Deere ISG

Like every successful technology business, Deere is routinely recruiting talented people for employment. If you are interested in exploring a career with Deere to build software with agility, and more importantly, to help address the challenge of feeding the world, contact Arneda Shelton and check out: